Convocation Ceremony Program for the Undergraduate Class of 2023

Convocation Speakers

Susan Fournier
Allen Questrom Professor and Dean
Professor, Marketing

Susan Fournier joined the faculty at Boston University Questrom School of Business in 2005 as an Associate Professor of Marketing and Dean’s Research Fellow. In the ensuing years, she advanced through the faculty ranks and was named Questrom Professor in Management in 2013. She has been an influential member of the community in her varied roles as an educator, researcher, and administrator.

As Questrom’s first academic dean in over 40 years, Susan has the benefit of an inside perspective. She brings a wealth of personal experience in academia with over 24 years in the Undergrad, MBA and Executive classrooms of Harvard Business School, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and Questrom. She is a celebrated professor who designed and delivered one of Questrom’s Top 10 MBA electives. She recently served as Senior Associate Dean of Faculty & Research, and was a prior Faculty Director of the Questrom MBA and Doctoral programs. She is an award-winning researcher with an in-depth knowledge of the research and publication enterprises, what it takes to produce “research that matters,” how to bring that knowledge into the classroom, and what it takes to translate academic research for the most significant impact on practice—facets critical to understand in the pursuit of creating value for the world.

Susan is also the first woman dean at Questrom, marking a significant moment in our history. She is “looking forward to a time when this descriptor is not considered a unique attribute.” Of equal importance, Susan is a first-generation college student. This status gives her meaningful insight as Questrom continues to focus on diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the School’s life.

Nelia Newell
Master Lecturer, Finance
Associate Department Chair, Finance

Nelia Newell began teaching at Boston University in 2009 after 20 years in the banking industry where she served in various capacities including Credit Officer, Credit Training manager and a lender to various specialized industries including Media & Communications and High Technology.  At Questrom, she teaches Business, Society and Ethics as well as several different Finance courses including FE101 and the Finance component of Core.  In addition to teaching, Ms Newell coaches lightweight women’s rowers.   She graduated with an MBA and an MSW from Columbia University in 1983 and with an AB in English from Harvard University in 1979.

Matthew Gunning
BSBA Candidate, Class of 2023

Matt Gunning is graduating magna cum laude with concentrations in business analytics and finance. Originally from Lynnfield, MA, Matt transferred to Questrom as a sophomore after spending his first year at The George Washington University. On campus, Matt has served as president of Pride in Business, secretary of Alpha Kappa Psi, a Transfer Peer Advisor, and a Career Skills Coach. Matt also represents the Class of 2023 as a member of Boston University’s Scarlet Key Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding seniors who have demonstrated exceptional scholarship, leadership, and service. This summer, Matt is moving to New York City to begin his work at Veeva Systems as an Analytics Services Associate.

Daniella Pierson
BSBA, Class of 2017

Daniella Pierson is the Latina 27-year-old founder / CEO of The Newsette (valued at $200M) as well as a co-founder of Wondermind, a mental fitness company she started with Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey that raised capital at an $100M pre-launch valuation. Her net worth was recently announced by Forbes as $220M, making her the World’s Youngest Wealthiest Self-Made BIPOC Woman.

She started her first company, The Newsette, as a sophomore in college, and despite not having any VC funding, seven years later The Newsette closed 2021 with $40M in sales and 8-figures of profit. The Newsette was also recently listed as #16 out of 5,000 on Inc’s list of the Most Successful Companies in America with 16,500% growth in the last 3 years.This success has enabled her to invest in BIPOC brands she believes in, as well as large companies such as SpaceX, and be a part of funds like Serena Ventures.

Daniella is very open about having ADHD, OCD, and Depression, and is passionate about showing the world that you can achieve success at any age, even without millions of VC dollars, while struggling with learning disabilities and mental health disorders. Her total current net worth is $230M+. She has been on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine, and profiled in Forbes, Business Insider, USA Today, CNBC, and beyond. She also achieved the Forbes 30 Under 30 list at age 24.